HELLO CHRISTMAS. There’s just one more Friday between us and the biggest holiday on our plug of the planet.
When we’ve lived through enough Christmases, we build ghostly memories of Christmas past.
- There was the Train Christmas. Mom and Dad bought a train set for my two brothers and me. One brother claimed it as his own. It’s probably under his Christmas tree right now, and it’s worth a fair penny. Me and the Other Brother from the Same Mother don’t begrudge him the train. He’s the one who wanted it most. Squeaky Wheel, we love you and your train.
- There was the Used Bike Christmas. I wanted a bicycle. Mom and Dad couldn’t afford a new one. They bought a fixer upper. Dad fixed it up. He was a great mechanic. But a kindergarten painter. Mom must have seen I wasn’t excited because she told me Dad worked many hours at night getting the bike ready. I can’t remember what happened to the bike. Maybe I “lost” it.
- There was the Bag Clip Christmas. Our daughter was a senior in high school, getting ready for college. We got her a lot of practical stuff for Christmas that year. Sadly, she and her younger brother opened their gifts at the same time.
SON: Opens package of new video game. “Oh yes! Oh yes! Backyard Football!”
DAUGHTER: Opens box of towels. “Towels?”
SON: DVD of Tommy Boy. “Hah, hah, Tommy Boy! Yes!”
DAUGHTER: Kitchen spatula and spoon. “What is this?”
SON: More video games. “Best Christmas ever!”
DAUGHTER: Bag clips. “Bag clips?”
ME: “Wait till you see the bags.”
I’d show you the video – because it does exist – but one member of my family would veto the heck out of that idea.
As our kids were growing up, I told them to approach Christmas as though they were getting nothing – so they wouldn’t be disappointed. I suggested that because I’ve had a disappointing Christmas or two in my lifetime. You already know about one of them.
As we go into the home stretch of these holidays – Christmas and New Year’s Day – it’s normal to remember holidays gone by. And it’s healthy for us to do that, for the most part. For better or worse, our past was the making of us.
But as we approach what’s coming in less than two weeks, it’s probably time to start thinking about stepping up to make some new memories.
I know. We’re supposed to think about Baby Jesus.
But I have this feeling that if Grown-up Jesus came back for Christmas this year, he’d tell us to focus more on the people around us.
It’s good to be grateful that Jesus came down as a child. But it’s good to remember why he came.
“I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest” (John 10:10).
I don’t know about you, but I feel most alive when I’m with people I love or with strangers who need my help. It sounds odd, but that’s when my heart feels fullest.
If you’re like me, you’ll find joy being with those people this Christmas.
If you’re alone, with family and friends far away, there may be people on your part of the planet who could use some tender loving care from a stranger.
In which case, get strange.
Random book winner this week
I give away one free book a week to a randomly selected subscriber to my free blog and quarterly newsletter.
Deloris is random this week. She picked 100 Tough Questions About God and the Bible.